Letter To California Regional Water Quality Control Board

Chairman Murray and Members of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board:

My name is Dennis Durgan and I serve as Chairman of the Newport Harbor Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2019 for the purpose of preserving, protecting and enhancing Newport Harbor for the benefit of the City of Newport Beach, the homeowners on or near the bay, the commercial operators in the bay, and the recreational users of the bay. The Foundation’s founders, contributors, and members are made up of individuals and business who have a long history of using and enjoying the harbor and a vested interest in its enhancement and preservation for use by current and future generations. On behalf the Foundation and its Board of Directors, I am reaching out to you to express our support for the currently pending project for dredging of Newport Harbor and construction of the confined aquatic disposal (CAD) site.

You have an opportunity before you to move forward the long awaited dredging of Newport Harbor. The dredging will bring the harbor to its design depth which will provide for better flushing which will significantly enhance the water quality. In conjunction with the dredging the City of Newport Beach has the opportunity to remove unsuitable materials currently lying on the floor of the harbor and place them in a secure CAD. This is a one-time opportunity for the City of Newport Beach to remove these materials from the harbor floor. If not done in conjunction with the dredging, the cost of disposal at a future date is prohibitive.

The City of Newport Beach has worked tirelessly for years to bring this project to fruition. The City has committed $10,000,000 to the Army Corps of Engineers to move the project forward and has certified the project Environmental Impact Report. It is my understanding that your staff have reviewed all of the studies and environmental reports and the certified the EIR.

We are near the end of the road. You have two choices: 1) move this project forward by approving the Application for the Section 401 Water Quality Certification And Order to allow the bay to be dredged to its design depth which will significantly enhance its flushing capability and water quality, remove and encapsulate the unsuitable materials that today are lying on the floor of the bay and take advantage of the Federal grant money that has been obtained by the City of Newport Beach; or 2) disapprove the Application, leave the unsuitable materials in the bay, and allow the bay to continue to silt up causing navigational problems and deteriorating water quality.

The Newport Harbor Foundation strongly urges you to approve the City of Newport Beach Application, move the dredging and CAD forward, and enhance the water quality in the bay for the benefit of all who use and recreate on Newport Harbor.

Thank you for your consideration.

Dennis Durgan

Newport Harbor Foundation
Dennis Durgan